If you’re looking for the ideal amount of time to spend in Italy’s eternal city, we think that a three-day Rome itinerary is a great place to start. From fresco-adorned churches, ancient palaces, ornate fountains and architectural gems as far as the eye can see, it’s a city that is rich in history and culture beyond comparison.
Beyond its size, since it is the biggest city in the country and also its capital, Rome is arguably Italy’s most famous for all of its masterpieces and its significance in the world. Colosseum? Check. Sistine Chapel? Check. Spanish Steps? Check.
If you are planning on going to Rome but are overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of things to do, not to worry. This three-day Rome itinerary is jam-packed with points of interest, restaurant recommendations, and the perfect roadmap to make the most of your time. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but tackling it in three days? Now, that’s doable.
How to Get to Rome
If you believe the saying that “all roads lead to Rome,” you’d be pretty close to understanding how easy it is to get there. Rome’s main airport, the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, is also connected to a train station, the Fiumicino Airport Railway Station. Whether you are flying in directly or need to take a train from another major city, starting your three-day Rome itinerary will be easy. You can also rent a car and drive, and depending where you’re coming from, likely also find a bus. There is no shortage of options for transportation.
Day 1 in Rome
Morning: The Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
From 8-10 a.m., begin your day at the Colosseum, arguably the main highlight of a Rome three-day itinerary. You’ll wonder if time travel really is possible as you look at the structures around you and imagine yourself fighting warriors and beasts in the center. After the Colosseum, head to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. to continue your deep dive into Roman history and stop to enjoy the views.
Lunch: Find a Local Trattoria Near the Colosseum
Trattoria Pizzeria Luzzi is a fantastic and highly-rated local option for lunch, located a short walk from the Colosseum. It is known for its authentic Roman dishes such as Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper pasta) and Pollo Alla Romana (Roman chicken). Its flavorful and extensive menu, as well as its traditional decor, makes this place a perfect spot to enjoy for tourists and locals alike.
Afternoon: The Capitoline Hill and the Capitoline Museums
Explore the heart of Rome at Capitoline Hill and the Capitoline Museums from 2-4 p.m., both full of architectural marvels and incredible arts and artifacts that fully explain Rome’s history.
Take a Stroll Down Via dei Fori Imperiali
Continue exploring Rome by foot by taking a stroll down Via dei Fori Imperiali (4:30-6 p.m.), a playground of iconic architectural ruins such as Roman forums and the Colosseum.
Looking for a bustling piazza (or square) in a great neighborhood? Look no further than Piazza Venezia (from 7-8:30 p.m.), known for its historical significance and architecture. The highlight of the square is the monumental Altare della Patria, or Altar of the Fatherland, built to honor Italy’s first king as well as the soldiers who fought in World War I. Consider climbing to the top so that you don’t miss the panoramic views of the city. This piazza’s central location to some of Rome’s iconic attractions is the perfect way to start your trip.
For dinner, head to Trastevere, one of the most popular neighborhoods in Rome and a must-visit during your three-day itinerary. Eat at Da Enzo al 29 (Via dei Vascellari, 29, 00159), another find that is known for its authentic Roman dishes and family-run atmosphere. Because it is loved by locals and tourists alike and since they don’t accept reservations, we recommend arriving earlier than the opening time for dinner.
Day 2 in Rome
Morning: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
Vatican City has its own “trinity” of holy treasures, and those are the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. On your three-day itinerary to Rome, visit St. Peter’s Basilica first (8-9:30 a.m.), which is the world’s largest church and is full of Renaissance masterpieces, in addition to being the final resting place of St. Peter. You are sure to find an awe-inspiring collection of art and historical artifacts in the Vatican Museums (visit in combination with the Sistine Chapel from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.). The Sistine Chapel is an artistic marvel once you consider the extent of Michelangelo’s ionic ceiling. Combined, they are an unforgettable masterpiece that allows visitors to experience elements of art, faith and history all at once.
Lunch: Find a Restaurant Near the Vatican
One restaurant that is a popular go-to in the area near the Vatican is “La Zanzara,” which means “mosquito” in Italian. Its menu provides a blend of Italian and international cuisine, and the quality of its food is what the restaurant is known for.
Afternoon: Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon
The adventure in Rome continues at Castel Sant’Angelo (2-3:30 p.m.), known for its towering rotunda in Parco Adriano. Stroll through Piazza Navona from 4-5 p.m. and finish at the Pantheon from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Take a moment to appreciate the building’s history and longevity as a fundamental element of the city.
Take a break after day two of your three-day Rome itinerary and stop at Da Fortunato al Pantheon. It has a longstanding reputation for serving Roman dishes and is a convenient location after all of the sightseeing!
Day 3 in Rome
Morning: The Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and Piazza del Popolo
When visiting some of these spots, it’s best to start early which is why today starts from 9-10:30 at the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, definitely in the top five spots on every tourist’s list. Don’t be surprised if there is a huge crowd for photos at each. Who wouldn’t want to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain? Then, enjoy the neoclassical elegance of Piazza del Popolo from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Lunch: Typical Lunch at Campo de’ Fiori
For lunch, go to Roscioli, known for its wide selection of cured meats and cheeses, along with traditional Roman dishes.
Afternoon: Villa Borghese and Santa Maria del Popolo
For the romantics, visit Villa Borghese (2-4 p.m.) and Santa Maria del Popolo (4:30-5:30 p.m.) are lovely places to walk around. Visitors to Villa Borghese will enjoy the serene setting of the gardens (consider taking a break to paddle boat on the lake) as well as the opportunity to view the Borghese Gallery. Explore Roman treasures in Santa Maria del Popolo as well as small boutiques and cafes.
Evening: Dinner Near the Pantheon
One restaurant with great reviews near the Pantheon is Armando al Pantheon, known for its classic Roman cuisine and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy the unforgettable Roman dishes and soak up the historical surroundings.
How to Get Around Rome
Due to its size and the fact that it has so much to offer, some people find getting around Rome challenging. During your three-day itinerary, prepare for a lot of walking, of course, but don’t be afraid to take other methods of transportation if needed. The Metro has three lines that run throughout the city, and there are buses, trams, taxis, the urban railway and more.
What to Pack for a Three-day Itinerary in Rome
Luckily, everything you need for your three-day trip to Rome will be useful everywhere else you travel in Italy! Don’t forget to pack:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bandages, in case of blisters
- A light jacket
- A universal adapter
- A portable power bank
- Hand sanitizer
- A travel umbrella
The Best Hotels in Rome for a Three-Day Itinerary
The Liberty Boutique Hotel
The Liberty Boutique Hotel is the picture of Italian elegance and modern luxury, perfect for a three-day Rome itinerary. The meticulously-restored early 20th-century building will take your breath away throughout your stay here. Guests will enjoy a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, as well as opulently decorated rooms, fine dining, and a central location to Roman landmarks.
Mauritius Private Suites Hotel
Staying at the Mauritius Private Suites Hotel is another perfect blend of old world and modern living. Located in the heart of the city, its unique rooms (adorned with frescoes and stunning furnishings) will welcome and comfort you during your three-day itinerary in Rome. With its dedication to personalized service, this touch of Roman charm will be an unforgettable stay.
Antico Albergo di Sole al Pantheon
If boutique hotels are your style, the Antico Albergo di Sole al Pantheon is our choice for your Rome itinerary. In terms of location, it is just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon, one of Rome’s most famous and historically relevant buildings. Guests can feel history from every angle due to the hotel’s history dating back to 1497 and its proximity to other famous landmarks.
The Best Restaurants in Rome for a Three-Day Itinerary
Sa Tanca Crostaceria
Is finding a good seafood restaurant in Rome part of the plan? At Sa Tanca Crostaceria, diners will find lobster, shellfish platters and multi course menus sure to please any palate. Its intimate space and vintage decor offer a comfortable ambiance for an intimate dinner.
Tonnarello is a special spot that beckons visitors with its delicious menu and cozy atmosphere. Pasta lovers will enjoy the wide selection of options, since pasta takes center stage here. From Cacio e Pepe to Carbonara, two Rome staples, they also serve salads, pinse (another Roman classic), meatballs, and plenty of second course and dessert options.
Rione XIV Bistrot
Don’t miss this culinary gem during your three-day Rome itinerary. This spot is a favorite among locals that blends traditional Italian flavors and contemporary dishes. The inventive approach and charming setting will certainly help guests create wonderful memories.
What to See Near Rome if You Have More Than Three Days
Visit Tivoli and explore the historic Villa D’Este with its decorative fountains and expansive gardens. Those who are interested in Roman architecture also will enjoy Hadrian’s Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ostia Antica is one of Italy’s ancient harbor cities, and it’s a place not to miss during your three-day trip to Rome. Explore its amphitheater, baths, and the Forum – you’ll really feel as though you’ve traveled back in time by having this slice of ancient Roman life.
Don’t think that Umbria and Tuscany are the only regions with fantastic hillside vistas. Castelli Romani has hilltop towns such as Frascati and Castel Gandolfo that are worth a visit. Use this time to take it easy and soak up the local wine, breathtaking views, and Roman villas.
FAQs About Three-Day Itineraries to Rome
Absolutely! Using our above itinerary, it would be more than enough time to visit some of the city’s most famous and historic landmarks. Even with a full itinerary, you would be able to check enough off your list to feel accomplished while leaving room for ideas for your next visit.
There are plenty of options when it comes to getting around Rome. Whether you challenge your body to walk or bike, take cabs, or you get around on various forms of public transportation, there is no shortage of reliable transport. Rome even has an excellent subway system that allows for convenient transportation to various parts of the city. Visit the Rome Metro to check out hours, lines, and everywhere it goes in the city.
Like any vacation, the ideal number of days to spend in Rome will vary person to person. Some people want to tackle Rome in a day, others in three days, a week, or a month. It is all up to you and what else you have planned. Don’t forget that the beauty and allure of Rome has existed for hundreds of years, so it will endure for many more to come. Why not spend a bit of time there to start and then keep a log of everything you would like to see the next time around?